The Volkswagen Golf GTI 380 Celebrates the Final Year of the Manual GTI

Named for the eighth-generation’s internal code, the VW Golf GTI 380 gives enthusiasts one more chance to row their own gears.

Sorry to say it, but the Volkswagen Golf GTI 380 is the last gasp of the manually-equipped GTI, which is a bitter pill to swallow. For decades, the GTI was emotionally connected to the driver via a manual transmission. Stirring your own gears, without additional aids (dual-clutch, manual-matic etc.) is a rewarding sensation for some drivers.

Sadly, sales of manual transmission equipped across the line, are shriveling up. Some automakers, like General Motors and Mercedes-Benz have, or will eradicate manual transmissions – permanently. Experts expect to see the end of manual transmission, mass-produced vehicles within a decade. Sure, automatic and dual clutch transmissions have proven to be faster, more efficient and somewhat foolproof, but they lack soul.

What’s unique about the 380 (and what isn’t)

This special edition GTI comes with the familiar, 241 horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter. This four-cylinder makes 273 pound-feet of torque – and it’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Unique features include the DCC adaptive damping system. You get unique, black-painted, multi–spoke, aluminum-alloy 19-inch wheels. Those wheels are wrapped in performance summer rubber. In addition, the roof and mirrors are painted gloss black. The 380 is painted in an exclusive Graphite Gray Metallic paint job.

In the future, a seven-speed dual-clutch “DSG” transmission will carry forward on future GTI models and on the Golf R. The 2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI 380 goes on sale in early Fall 2023, with a starting MSRP of $32,485 for the GTI 380 S, $37,285 for the GTI 380 SE, and $40,625 for the GTI 380 Autobahn. The destination charge is $1,150.

How do you feel about this? Personally, I find the news bittersweet. I’m happy that VW is willing to make a final version, rather than simply cancel the manual and move on. At the same time, it feels somber and depressing to think about a future without a manual GTI.